Welcome to Newsbytes, a post for the weekend that curates news from around the arcade & pinball world to for your reading pleasure. For today’s episode:
The AAMA Holds Their Annual Gala
The AAMA (American Amusement Machine Association) has held the annual Gala but unlike some previous years, I have little info on what was there for the product portion of the event. Replay has a brief article, which does detail the charity that took place along with some awards; LAI Games did a presentation on VR. The Gala is always a bit more low key than other industry events, but often manufacturers will take some new games there to promote what they’ll have at IAAPA. As it is, I don’t know if any new-new video games were on display, but I do know that Sega was showing off their new Skill Fall Revolution merchandizer and Barron Games had the latest version of Birdly VR on display:
T-Rex Adventure Or T-Rex Safari?
In a recent visit by noted game historian Ethan Johnson to the Raw Thrills factory, he snapped some photos from the warehouse floor. In them, you can see some prototype games hanging around in the background, but one of the clear ones shows their upcoming VR arcade piece T-Rex Adventure… or should that be Safari, as one screen shows one name, another screen the latter:
And after that, Eugene took us to the Raw Thrills factory!
I'm not even sure I'm allowed to talk about what I saw there. Needless to say it was a dream come true to be inside a working place making arcade games. Eugene and Warren are amazing guys! pic.twitter.com/YwVVM26sOG
— Ethan Johnson (Play History) (@GameResearch_E) September 9, 2023
Nothing is set in stone until production of course and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one ends up with the Jurassic Park license attached to it when all is said and done. Also amusing to see some of the Frankenstein patchwork games they have in storage there, such as a Frogger that used the Super Bikes 2 marquee mold. (Thanks to Jdevy and Ted for pointing these tweets out, which I had missed)
I recently posted about some software updates for Inowize’s QBIX and today I have a few more details.
I was unsure about the cost for these and it turns out that they have no cost to the operator. They also have redesigned the enclosure structure as detailed below:
QBIX now includes automatic gates, making it even easier to use and control the flow of guests. This enhances its unattended features, allowing operators to focus on other areas of their business while QBIX keeps guests entertained.
In terms of controllers […] we now use the HTC Vive controllers. The reason we no longer use the one you tested at IAAPA 2022 is that it was too uncomfortable to work with, as the costs would have ended up similar to a regular Vive controller, but manufacturing and deliveries would have taken longer in case of replacement needs. We decided to stick with the regular Vive controller as it’s easy and fast to source, and Vive also does a great job with the warranty, for both USA and worldwide.
Here’s the new structure on location:
Sega Amusements Unveils IAAPA Expo Europe Line-up
Sega has revealed what they are bringing to IAAPA Expo Europe 2023, which is taking place September 25th-28th in Vienna, Austria. Redemption gamers will be happy to see that they have a couple of new pieces in that regard, such as Ballzania and a merchandizer called wither Win or Skill Fall Revolution (regional name difference – Skill Fall is the US). For video gamers, the focus is on their titles released at last year’s IAAPA, Drone Racing Genesis and Storm Rider 2. Historically speaking, a brand new video piece is revealed in October so perhaps video fans will have to hang tight.
UNIS Reveals Dynamic Orbs
As a part of their IAAPA 2023 preview, UNIS has unveiled a redemption piece called Dynamic Orbs. It’s not on their website yet but this video should suffice for now:
Why So Much Redemption At Your Local Arcade?
I recently posted a couple of videos talking about ticket redemption and why arcades tend to have redemption-heavy floors instead of video games, like they would have back in the 80s. As usual, I mix it with some insight from past experience but said experience is a few years old at this point. First video deals mostly with earnings while the second video deals with gameplay differences:
I understand that these aren’t perfect and could be better polished with some scripting. To that end, I subsequently got a text from a manager at a distributor who criticized the first video, as it does get a bit lengthy on the earnings part and I didn’t strongly represent the other side or a counter argument to the “kiddie casino” criticism.
I’ll admit that I find it tough to defend that as my motivation isn’t there when it comes to redemption, aside from the part that it makes boat-loads of money. Part of it too is that anytime I get into an “arcades are dead” argument, which is at least once a year, the attack is that “arcades with redemption aren’t real arcades,” so perhaps I overcompensate by defending video.
As I’ve said here many times before, one reason I don’t really cover redemption is because it really doesn’t need the help. Just about any flashy, well-designed ticket game will sell well and rake in the cash no matter where you put it. But without myself articulating that thought process in the video, it does come across as sloppy.
He said that I was like a manager of a Steakhouse complaining about the amount of money that drinks and desserts bring in, when one should be happy with everything. Which is a fair point – because I spent so much time on the earnings reports in the first video, I don’t spend much time on lumping it together to show that arcades with a solid mix can be fantastic earners.
Perhaps it’s a fools errand to be so focused on video like I am, but I do believe that video can stand out and still earn. When it first showed up, video was streets ahead culturally and technologically of redemption, which was then still almost completely electromechanical-based (or even more primitive), and with the right game I think it can continue to be to this day.
If anyone else feels that I’m throwing out bad info, feel free to say so – just please let me know what it is so that I can understand what to fix… or agree to disagree upon.
GENDA Is Looking Into Producing Their Own Content – Perhaps some of that will head West once GENDA locations start popping up here in numbers
The First Proposal For Atari’s I, Robot Arcade Game Was Completely Different From The Final Product – Initially called Ice World, on paper this sounds like it would’ve been a better game
Bounce Milwaukee Closes – Bay Tek had tested some games at this location on occasion
[Console] The Unity Debacle – At first I saw some hyperbole about the changes but as so often happens in these situations, poor handling makes it worse
[Console] WB Games Launches An FAQ/Info Site For Mortal Kombat 1 – By all accounts, it sounds like this is a fantastic entry into the franchise. Just too bad we’ll probably not see a new MK in arcades ever again.
[Console] Atari Acquires The AtariAge Site
[Console] AtGames & Zen Studios Join Forces; The Addams Family Coming To Their New 4K Pin – I’d thought that the TAF license was prohibitively expensive but perhaps something has changed?
[Console] The Nintendo Direct
That’s all for this edition of Newsbytes. If you have a good arcade local to you, be sure to go out and support them with some business this week or weekend!